Failed a DOT Drug Test

Failed a DOT Drug Test: Now What?

Commercial driving is a highly regulated industry, and safety is paramount. One of the key measures to ensure the safety of all road users is the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing program. But what happens if you fail a DOT drug test? This comprehensive guide will walk you through each step of the process, from understanding your test results to completing the necessary steps for returning to duty.

Road to Be Rehired

Failing a DOT drug test can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t mean the end of your career. The DOT has established a clear Return-to-Duty (RTD) process that you must follow to get back on the road. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Immediate Consequences: Upon failing a DOT drug test, you will be immediately removed from safety-sensitive duties, including driving. Your employer must provide you with a list of Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) who are qualified to evaluate your situation.
  2. Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Evaluation: You must undergo an evaluation by a certified SAP, who will assess the severity of your substance use and recommend an appropriate treatment and/or education program.
  3. Treatment and/or Education: Based on the SAP’s recommendations, you must complete the prescribed treatment and/or education program. This could include counseling, rehabilitation, or educational courses.
  4. Return to Duty Drug Test: After successfully completing the treatment/education program, you must pass a Return-to-Duty drug test. This test is typically directly observed to ensure the integrity of the sample.
  5. Follow-Up Testing Plan: Once you pass the RTD drug test, you will be subject to a follow-up testing plan, which involves random drug tests over the course of 1 to 5 years. The follow-up drug test will also be observed.

What Our Customers Say about Us

John L gave us a 5 star google rating and said, From the beginning, Brenda has been a wealth of knowledge and has been very patient explaining aspect of the DOT random drug testing program. I called multiple times to clarify our responsibility and what WSI could do to help and Brenda has been cheerful and eager to help us get started. Phil the CEO of the company also provided guidance and was knowledge and was very pleasant throughout. I’m glad to have found WSI, this is truly a customer first company.

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Need to order a return to duty drug screen or follow-up test drug screen or other employee screening service today?  Contact our knowledgeable support staff at 844-573-8378 or press on link to order now:

Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)

The role of a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is crucial in the return-to-duty process. The SAP is responsible for evaluating the driver, recommending treatment, and ensuring compliance with the prescribed plan.

What To Expect:

  • Initial Evaluation: The SAP will conduct a thorough assessment of your substance use history and current situation.
  • Treatment Recommendations: Based on the evaluation, the SAP will recommend a treatment or education plan tailored to your specific needs.
  • Monitoring Progress: The SAP will monitor your progress throughout the treatment program and provide support as needed.
  • Final Evaluation: Upon completion of the treatment program, the SAP will conduct a final evaluation to determine if you are ready to take the Return-to-Duty drug test.

Treatment and/or Education

The treatment and/or education program recommended by the SAP is a mandatory step in the return-to-duty process. The goal is to help you address any substance use issues and equip you with the tools needed to maintain sobriety.

Types of Programs:

  • Counseling: One-on-one sessions with a counselor to address underlying issues related to substance use.
  • Rehabilitation: Inpatient or outpatient programs that provide comprehensive treatment for substance use disorders.
  • Educational Courses: Classes designed to educate you about the dangers of substance use and strategies for maintaining a drug-free lifestyle.

Return to Duty Drug Test

After successfully completing the treatment or education program, you will need to pass a Return-to-Duty drug test. This test is more stringent than regular tests and will be directly observed to ensure the authenticity of the sample.

Will They Watch Me Pee?

In all case cases, yes. An observed collection involves a trained same sex collector who will watch you provide the urine sample to ensure that no tampering occurs. This is a standard procedure for Return-to-Duty and follow-up tests to maintain the integrity of the testing process.

Follow-Up Testing Plan

Once you pass the Return-to-Duty drug test, you will be subject to a follow-up testing plan. This plan includes a series of unannounced drug tests over a period of 1 to 5 years.

Key Points:

  • Random Testing: The follow-up tests are conducted randomly to ensure ongoing compliance.
  • Frequency: The number of tests and their frequency will be determined by the SAP based on your specific situation.
  • Duration: The follow-up testing plan can last anywhere from 1 to 5 years, depending on the SAP’s recommendations.

Importance of an Observed Collection

Observed collections play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of the drug testing process. By ensuring that the specimen is collected under direct supervision, the likelihood of tampering or substituting samples is significantly reduced.

Is Oral Fluid an Observed Collection?

No, oral fluid tests are not typically observed in the same way as urine tests. However, oral fluid collections are closely monitored to ensure the sample is collected correctly and without tampering.

Regulated Drug Test vs. Non Regulated Drug Test

It’s important to understand the difference between regulated and non-regulated drug tests:

Regulated Drug Tests:

  • Purpose: Conducted under federal regulations, primarily for safety-sensitive positions in transportation industries.
  • Standards: Follow strict guidelines set by the DOT and other federal agencies.
  • Oversight: Monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other regulatory bodies.

Non Regulated Drug Tests:

  • Purpose: Used by private employers for positions that do not fall under federal regulations.
  • Standards: Employers can set their own policies and procedures for these tests.
  • Oversight: Not subject to federal oversight but must comply with state and local laws.

It is extremely important that you have a regulated drug test and not a non regulated drug test.  If you complete a non regulated drug test, it will not count and you will have to perform another Return to Duty Drug Test.

Drug Test Near Me

Finding a convenient location for your Return-to-Duty drug test is crucial. Workplace Screening Intelligence offers easy and convenient testing options across the country. Simply contact our knowledgeable support staff at 844-573-8378 and our staff will fine a convenient “Drug Test Near Me” or DOT Drug Test Near Me.

Return to Duty Testing Program Made Easy

Navigating the return-to-duty process can be challenging, but Workplace Screening Intelligence is here to help. Our comprehensive Return-to-Duty Testing Program is designed to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Services Offered:

  • SAP Referrals: Access to certified Substance Abuse Professionals for evaluations and recommendations.
  • Convenient Testing Locations: Find a nearby testing site using our “Drug Test Near Me” or DOT Drug Test Near Me.
  • Follow-Up Testing Plan: Support in managing your follow-up testing requirements.
  • Expert Guidance: Benefit from our 30 years of experience in workplace drug testing.
  • Owner Operator Compliance: Complete program to get you back on the road and compliant with FMCSA and the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Let Our 30 Years of Experience Be Your Peace of Mind

At Workplace Screening Intelligence, we understand the complexities of the DOT drug testing process. With over 30 years of experience, we are committed to providing the guidance and support you need to get back on the road quickly and safely.

Why Choose Us?

  • Expertise: Our team of professionals has extensive knowledge of DOT regulations and drug testing procedures.
  • Convenience: With a network of testing locations nationwide, we make it easy to find a “Drug Test Near Me or DOT Drug Test Near Me.”
  • Support: From SAP referrals to follow-up testing, we offer comprehensive services to support you through every step of the process.

Understanding the DOT 5 Panel Test

As part of the DOT drug testing program, you may encounter the term “5 panel test.” This refers to the standard set of drugs that are screened during a DOT drug test.

What is a 5 Panel Test?

The DOT 5 panel test screens for the following substances:

  1. Marijuana (THC)
  2. Cocaine
  3. Opiates (including heroin, codeine, and morphine)
  4. Amphetamines (including methamphetamine and ecstasy)
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP)

Knowing what’s included in the test can help you understand the scope of the screening process and the importance of staying compliant with DOT regulations. Reminder your test must be a Federal or DOT Drug test and be observed.  If not, you will need to repeat.  Our electronic ordering at over 20,000 collection will make sure that your collection is a DOT and observed for Return to Duty and Follow-up testing program.

Navigating the FMCSA Clearinghouse

If you fail a DOT drug test, your test result will be reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse. This online database keeps records of commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol program violations and ensures that drivers who have violated the regulations complete the necessary steps before returning to duty.

Key Points about the FMCSA Clearinghouse:

  • Record Keeping: The Clearinghouse maintains a record of all violations and the steps taken to return to duty.
  • Employer Access: Employers must check the Clearinghouse before hiring a driver and annually for current employees.
  • Driver Access: Drivers can access their own records to verify the accuracy of the information.
  • Privacy and Security: The Clearinghouse uses secure technology to protect the privacy of drivers’ information.
  • Clearance in the FMCSA Clearinghouse: The employer or their CTPA (like Workplace Screening Intelligence) will document the Return to Duty drug test in the FMCSA Clearinghouse.  Once this happens, you will be cleared to drive again.  When employers, officers or auditors query you, you will show up as not prohibited from driving and can safely return to safety sensitive duties.
  • Owner Operators must appoint a CTPA: Owner Operators must appoint a CTPA (like Workplace Screening Intelligence in the FMCSA Clearinghouse.  The CTPA acts as the Owner Operator’s employer and will document the return to duty drug test and completion of the Follow-up testing program.

Medical Review Officer (MRO) and Their Role

In the DOT drug testing process, the Medical Review Officer (MRO) plays a vital role. The MRO is a licensed physician responsible for reviewing lab results, verifying test accuracy, and ensuring that an individual’s rights are protected.

Responsibilities of the Medical Review Office:

  • Reviewing Results: The Medical Review Officer reviews lab results to confirm their accuracy and validity.
  • Verification: If a test result is positive, the Medical Review Officer contacts the driver to discuss any legitimate medical explanations (e.g., prescription medications).
  • Reporting: The Medical Review Office reports verified positive results to the employer and enters the information into the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

Consortium/Third Party Administrator (C/TPA)

A Consortium/Third Party Administrator (C/TPA) is an organization that manages drug and alcohol testing programs for multiple employers. They can help you navigate the complexities of DOT regulations and ensure compliance with the necessary testing protocols.

Services Provided by a C/TPA:

  • Program Management: Overseeing drug and alcohol testing programs for compliance.
  • Random Testing: Managing random testing pools and selecting employees for testing.
  • Record Keeping: Maintaining accurate records of test results and steps taken in the return-to-duty process.
  • Support and Guidance: Providing expert advice and support throughout the testing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why must the return to duty drug test and follow-up drug test be observed?  The FMCSA mandates that all return to duty drug test and follow-up drug test be observed.  This is done to maintain integrity of the return to duty process.

Oral fluids is observed.  Can I utilize Oral Fluid Drug Testing.  Yes, but not yet.  DOT has approved oral fluid drug testing for DOT and yes it will count as an observed collection.  The collection is observed the entire time.  Why not now?  The DOT approved Oral Fluid Drug testing in June of 2023.  However a few items need to be addressed before the first DOT Oral Fluid Collection can happen:

  • The FDA must approve a DOT Split Specimen Oral Fluid Device.
  • SAMHSA must inspect and certify two labs for Oral Fluid or Saliva Drug Testing.  Both labs must utilize the same device to accommodate split specimen testing.
  • All collectors must be trained in oral fluid drug testing collections and must successfully perform mock collections to prove proficiency.

What happens if a fail the Return to Duty Drug Test or the Follow-Up Drug test?  You will need to start the Return to Duty process all over.  Yes that includes Substance Abuse Professional visit, treatment/education and Return to Duty drug test a new follow-up testing program.


Failing a DOT drug test can be a challenging and stressful experience, but it’s important to remember that there is a clear path to getting back on the road. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the return-to-duty process with confidence and take the necessary steps to regain your commercial driving privileges.

At Workplace Screening Intelligence, we are committed to helping you through every stage of this journey. With our extensive experience, convenient testing locations, and comprehensive support services, we are here to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Remember, the key to a successful return-to-duty is understanding the process, complying with the requirements, and seeking the right support. Let our 30 years of experience be your peace of mind as you work towards getting back on the road and continuing your career as a professional driver.

Call to Action

If you’ve failed a DOT drug test and need assistance with the return-to-duty process, don’t hesitate to reach out to Workplace Screening Intelligence. Visit our website to find a “Drug Test Near Me” or contact our team directly for expert guidance and support. Together, we can help you get back on the road quickly and safely.

Need to order a return to duty drug screen or follow-up test drug screen or other employee screening service today?  Contact our knowledgeable support staff at 844-573-8378 or press on link to order now:

What Our Customers say about Us

Carlie M. gave us a 5 Star Google Review and said, “Brenda is amazing! Always so helpful and knowledgeable. Switching from our old provider to WSI has made my job SO much easier”!!